General Consultation Services

General Consultation Services

Dr. Pleshchuk holds expertise in forensic evaluation, risk assessment, program development and evaluation, and suicide risk and prevention.

  • The use of psychological consultants is increasingly recognized as a critical component of a successful legal strategy in cases involving mental health issues.
    Dr. Pleshchuk provides expert evaluation and consultation services. She has been appointed to hundreds of cases, across several counties throughout Northern California in the past three years. She has provided expert testimony on a range of psychological disorders and mental health concepts, including trauma, and adverse childhood experiences. Dr. Pleshchuk has been retained as a consultant in legal cases involving mental health issues.

How a Forensic Psychologist Can Help Support a Litigation Team:

  • By applying scientific principles and areas of knowledge to each case, the Forensic Psychologist can:
    • Help legal counsel understand the meaning and importance of scientific and other data, research, reports, and papers so that such information can be considered in the strategic development of a case.
    • Help attorneys and jurors understand complex psychological issues such as the effects of trauma, brain injury, and long-term prognosis of such effects.
    • Spot signs of malingering, feigning, secondary gain and factitious disorder (where the plaintiff fabricates their condition to get medical attention).
    • Provide an expert opinion concerning whether a person’s assertions and symptoms are likely real or imagined.
    • Assess pre- and post-incident functioning, based upon the available information.
    • Offer objective evidence to help support or clarify matters that may be in question at trial.
    • Communicate scientific principles underlying their expert opinion to a Judge and Jury in an understandable manner.

Services Include:

  • Case analysis and development
  • Reviewing records to identify salient mental health issues
  • Locating and retaining expert witnesses
  • Explaining psychological test results, diagnoses, and multifaceted psychological issues
  • Assisting in the development of direct and cross-examination
  • Translate complex psychological concepts into plain language to provide a significant advantage in achieving a desired legal outcome.

Diagnostic Clarification and Treatment Planning

Psychological assessment can help guide the direction of therapy and provide focus for goal setting and treatment planning. Evaluations can involve tests that measure intelligence, achievement, cognitive functioning, and sometimes motor functioning. Although each test offers its own special type of information, together the test battery gives a full picture of a person’s functioning. The choice of tests used depends upon the question to be answered.

Achievement and Learning

Assessments of achievement and learning serve as a vital tools in identifying and understanding the needs and strength of individual students. Evaluations can be requested by parents, teachers and other school personnel to help promote effective learning and education development. Assessments and written reports offer a clear layout of individual strengths, areas of growth, and needs along with recommendations to help develop appropriate curriculum, educational planning and behavioral modifications.

Forensic psychology is the intersection between the clinical practice of psychology and the law. Forensic psychology is a specialty area in the broad field of psychology which focuses on the application of psychological principles and practices to answer psycho-legal questions.  Forensic psychologists assist the court in examining specific mental health aspects within the legal context. The focus is to address the legal question at hand to help the courts make appropriate decisions using empirically based research, actuarial instruments and objective psychological tests. Unlike traditional clinical psychological evaluations, where the client is frequently the person that is being assessed, in forensic psychological evaluations, the client is often the retaining party, which can either be the court, attorney, or an agency. The forensic psychologist’s role is to maintain objectivity and better inform the legal system or process with expert knowledge of mental health and human behavior. Forensic psychologists have a combination of specialized training and experience beyond the doctoral degree and provide evaluations, expert testimony in courts, and consultations to attorneys and judges throughout the legal system. These psychologists may also assist with jury selection, a process called voir dire examination.
The purpose of our forensic psychology evaluations is to assess psychological and cognitive functioning of individuals involved in legal and other administrative proceedings. Forensic psychologists conduct a forensic psychological evaluation, which will include a thorough clinical interview, comprehensive review of records, case law, collateral data, and psychological tests. Forensic evaluations can be utilized by the court to address legal issues such as competency to stand trial, criminal responsibility, transfer to adult court, sanity, risk for violence and sexual dangerousness. The forensic evaluation must adhere to very strict guidelines to insure that the findings and recommendations meet certain legal standards. When requested by the attorneys or ordered by the court, forensic psychologists conduct these evaluations in civil or criminal court cases, as well as in correctional and law enforcement settings. Unlike counseling and clinical psychological evaluations, the evaluations that are requested for the courts do not carry the same confidentiality assurances for the client. We explain and discuss these issues at the start so that the client may make a fully informed decision about their participation in the process.  Depending on the findings, we may identify and diagnosis a mental health disorder and provide recommendation for treatment planning. We also try to address the particular concerns or issues that were provided to us by the requesting party (e.g., attorney, case worker, probation officer, etc.)  Other psychological evaluations that may also be considered forensic can include, but are not limited to, evaluations of personal injury, fitness for duty, disability, parental fitness and competency to testify.
Assessing risk for violence can help courts make appropriate decisions on issues such as sentencing, granting privileges, and community reintegration. If an individual is assessed to be a high risk for future violence, a judge has grounds to order a more restrictive setting compared to someone who is a lower risk for recidivism. By tailoring court decisions based on accurate psychological evaluations, the community is safer while the defendant’s rights are also protected.
A comprehensive forensic evaluation can help facilitate better-informed legal decision making, or assist you as the attorney by performing evaluations that (depending on their outcome) may be useful in representing your client. A forensic evaluation can help address forensic questions such as “Does my client or defendant qualify for mental health diversion in California?” or “What is my client’s risk to public safety if released and treated in the community?” or “Does my client experience symptoms of PTSD and how has that impacted him?” Secondly, if a person (defendant) has a history of emotional distress, mental health treatment, special education, or cognitive impairment, an evaluation can be used for looking at mitigating factors and showing how the said disability/impairment impacts the client’s (defendant’s) decision making or functional abilities and how it relates to the instant offense. Please call the office of RPK Forensic Psychological and Consultation Services Inc. for a free 20-minute case consultation to find out how one of our specialized evaluations can assist you and your client. If you are a client interested in this service, please have your attorney reach out to us first. Issues that may warrant a forensic evaluation when being involved in a legal matter:
  • History of Trauma (sexual/physical/emotional abuse and/or general neglect)
  • History of Learning Difficulties
  • Traumatic Brain Injury
  • Memory Impairment
  • Intellectual Difficulties
  • Attention/Concentration Impairment
  • Mental Health History
  • Current Emotional Distress
We offer different types of evaluations. Each one is customized to meet your, or your client’s needs. Forensic evaluations vary in hours needed. You are welcome to call our office to discuss a total estimated cost for your specific evaluation. For private firm attorneys, we have a retainer agreement and fee schedule we can send for your review. Our office can send you the detailed breakdown of hours, psychological tests, and total fees for the court order.